Posts Tagged ‘InterVarsity’

Books About What We Do and Where We’ve Come From

December 4, 2020 2 comments

Last summer I was able to get my hands on The House of Zondervan, released in 2006 when the company was celebrating 75 years. As someone who has been in this business for awhile, I really enjoyed this, and once they got to around the mid 1980s, there were names and organizations in the story which I recognized. Besides, it’s always valuable to reconnect with the original vision.

I was told that a year or two ago a similar book about Baker Book Group was in the works. I was even given a working title, and it occurred to me at the time they ought to send it out free to people who’ve been at this a long time. But if the book ever existed — and perhaps it was just about Chosen Books or Bethany House — I can’t even locate the title anymore. (This is another example of why Google completely fails at certain types of searches. It latches on to key words to the detriment of what you’re actually seeking.) If you have one, please send me the proper title and/or ISBN.

In looking, I discovered Leap of Faith by Norman Grubb (who wrote Rees Howells: Intercessor) which is a history of Christian Literature Crusade (CLC).

I mention all this today because I just picked up a remainder copy of Heart, Soul, Mind, Strength: An Anecdotal History of InterVarsity Press, 1947 – 2007. Having worked for IVP at both the Leslie Street location in Toronto and the Denison Road warehouse in Markham, I know I’ll recognize some of the players, at least from the late 1970s.

I’m also fairly certain there’s a history of Thomas Nelson, and if not, Michael Hyatt wrote some helpful online articles which are still available.

If you really want to go deep, the periodical The Christian Librarian has an 84 page history of Christian publishing that’s free to read at Digital Commons.

Are there any books about NavPress? David C. Cook? Anyone else? Feel free to mention them to me in an email or in the comments.

Remembering James Sire

You never forget the books that marked your entry into this business, and for me, acting as Warehouse Manager for InterVarsity Press (IVP) in Canada, one of those books was The Universe Next Door by James Sire.

Sire was also a longtime (30 year) editorial director at IVP who introduced the world to authors such as Francis Schaeffer (How Shall We Then Live), Rebecca Manley Pippert (Out of the Saltshaker) Calvin Miller (The Singer) and Os Guinness (The Dust of Death). Dare I say it was a golden era for IVP? Sire is credited with raising the profile of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship’s (IVCF) publishing arm to the point it could attract top authors.

Sire died on Tuesday; he was 84. In addition to Universe, his own books with IVP included the classic Scripture Twisting (1980) to the more recent Apologetics Beyond Reason (2014).

There’s a full tribute to James Sire at the IVP website, as well as this article in Christianity Today.


IVP (UK) and SPCK Join Forces

The UK division of InterVarsity Press (IVP) has joined with longtime UK Christian imprint SPCK in a business restructuring announced Wednesday (7th) which goes into effect immediately.  An article in UK’s Christian Book Shop’s Blog (see link below) contains the announcement, along with a transcript of an interview with Sam Richardson, CEO of SPCK which clarifies details of the newly combined entity.

IVP is described as “the leading Evangelical publisher” in the UK, and North Americans might not realize that the company also acts as the distributor — through a division they call Partnership Distribution — for various lines, which in the past have included U.S. Evangelical publishers Crossway, NavPress, Zondervan Academic; and UK-based publishers such as Evangelical Press and CWR, publishers of the Every Day With Jesus materials; along with many more. On the other hand, SPCK is described as “the much-loved champions of theological diversity.”  To this, Sam Richards said, “…[I]t does on the face of it look an unlikely partnership. This is the source of its strength. These are two publishing imprints that can be happily distinct, without needing to step on each others toes or compete for authors.”

Although IVP remains distinct, the new structure places it under SPCK, and just as IVP in the U.S. and Canada is affiliated with the ministry of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship (IVCF) so also in the UK does IVP work closely with Universities and Colleges Christian Fellowship (UCCF), therefore this new arrangement places SPCK at least indirectly involved with that organization.

In the article, Phil Groom notes:

Whilst some in the trade were aware that IVP was experiencing some financial difficulties, this development — which has significant implications for the wider trade as well as for the two publishers and their staff — appears to have taken everyone completely by surprise.

To connect with the official announcement, and read the full interview, click this link: A Brave New World for Christian Bookselling: SPCK Publishing CEO Sam Richardson answers questions from the trade

Top Selling Title Vanishes From STL Inventory

Operation World — now in its 7th edition edited by Jason Mandryk — is a book in a category by itself.  It’s also a long-time number-one selling title for Biblica Books.  But when this prayer encyclopedia’s imprint was spun off to InterVarsity Press (IVP), it also vanished — along with all the other Biblica titles — from the inventory database at sister company STL.

The world of mergers and acquisitions is fraught with contractual baggage that transcends understanding for most of us; but STL carries IVP products, so why would IVP restrict sales of the product or STL not want to carry the titles of a former sister company?

I guess that those of us on the bottom of the totem pole aren’t supposed to wonder about things like this. But I’d like to know the story. Or did someone mis-read the contract? 

UPDATE: As mysteriously as it disappeared, Operation World is back in the listings — ISBN 9780830857234 — with a release date of March 30th.

You Can’t Get This Experience from an E-Book

Andrew T. LePeau of InterVaristy Press shares some personal memories at his blog, Andy Unedited, under the title…

It’s the Smell I Remember

It’s the smell I remember.

When my older sister was in high school she got a summer job at the local bookstore in the center of our town. It was only about a mile from home, so I would sometimes walk or ride my bike there to visit her. I tried not to interrupt her professional duties too much. It was there that I first learned to browse.

In the brightly sunlit shop were stacks of neatly piled paperbacks on tables and shelves. Some current fiction and self-help to be sure, but it’s the classics that stick in my mind—Shakespeare, Twain, Steinbeck, Hawthorne, Melville, H. G. Wells, Upton Sinclair and more. Some became friends at that time. Some later.

Even more than that, however, I recall the smell. As soon as I stepped into the door of the small shop, the fresh scent of pulped wood surrounded me like a forest in the Rockies. “What’s that smell?” I asked my sister quietly.

“It’s the books,” she confided.

The effect was magical on my young imagination. We had books in our home, but not nearly so many of course, nor so many that were as new. The books in this store, however, engaged me fully in sight and touch and even hearing as I flipped pages. Nonetheless, the sense that overpowered the others was smell.

Every once in a while I am still carried back to that shop in my memory when I step into our own warehouse here in Westmont. It happens less often when I enter a bookstore which in its spaciousness and diversity of other products allows that special fragrance to become more diffuse. But whenever I catch the scent, I think of my sister and sunlight and the classics.

Possible loosely related link:  The Smell of Books aerosol products (available in five aromas.)